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   from the issue of September 14, 2006

Teenage tale, architect documentary play the Ross

Films about a teenager facing womanhood and the life of a noted architect open Sept. 15 at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.

"Quinceañera," winner of the dramatic grand jury prize and audience award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, features Emily Rios as Magdalena, a girl who wants everything to be perfect for the celebration of her 15th birthday. But, Magdalena's preacher father can't afford a new dress and won't allow her ride in a Hummer limo like her cousin did for her party. Life gets worse as Magdalena gets pregnant - even though she swears she has never had sex with her boyfriend or anyone else.

Magdalena runs away to live with her great uncle Tomas and cousin Carlos. The cousin is the black sheep of the family who is curiously attracted to Tomas' gay landlords.

As Magdalena's quinceañera approaches, many changes and secrets threaten to tear her family apart.

Written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, "Quinceañera" is set in the Latino community of Echo Park, Los Angeles. The filmmakers used many nonprofessional actors, hiring people from the neighborhood and shooting scenes in homes and backyards to give the movie a touching realistic feel.

In "Sketches of Frank Gehry," Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollock examines the life of the noted architect.

Although the two men have been friends for years, Pollock bypasses the opportunity to pay a fawning tribute to Gehry, instead presenting a well-balanced portrait that offers both positive and negative commentators. But it quickly becomes clear that the biggest naysayer of all is Gehry himself, who is painted as a highly self-critical man, clearly ill-at-ease with fame and his own achievements.

"Quinceañera" (rated R for language, some sexual content and drug use) and "Sketches of Frank Gehry" (rated PG-13) continue through Sept. 28.

Show times are available online at or by calling 472-5353.



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